Exactly 3686 days after the registration of the first .RS domain name, the 100,000th was registered on 13th April 2018. It was the domain utsbalkantools.rs, and here is the story of the company behind it.
UTS Balkan Tools is a young, part-Serbian, part-Italian-owned company in Belgrade which began operating in February 2018. The core business of this company is distribution of cutting tools, hand tools, machines and tools for the mechanical engineering industry, as well as top quality tools for the hobbyist.
There are three people behind the company, Alessandro Favaretto, Ana Drobnjak and Silvano Vitiello, who have joined forces to bring innovations from the West to the Serbian market that will help develop the business of local companies.
How did the idea come about to open UTS Balkan Tools in Serbia specifically?
Ana Drobnjak: The original idea to establish UTS Balkan Tools came from the chief investor and director of the company, Italian Alessandro Favaretto. He had been doing business supplying cutting tools in Italy for more than 10 years. He happened to meet some people from our region and, two years ago, came to Serbia and visited Belgrade, which he took a great liking to. Here he found what he called “fertile soil”. We began working together and the idea came about to establish UTS Balkan Tools.
Did everything go ahead without a hitch?
Ana Drobnjak: First we analysed the market, which took us more than a year. Our initial idea was for the company to focus solely on distributing cutting tools – taps, dies, drill bits etc. However our analysis showed that we would be better off offering a more complete range of machines and tools that are lacking in our market but commonplace in the West and well-established in the mechanical engineering industry. So we also found local suppliers for the large range of very high-quality products we distribute and which would complement our key product: the mechanical articulated arm, something quite new in the Western European market.
How have you been approaching potential clients so far?
Ana Drobnjak: We had a stand at the 44th Building Trade Fair in Belgrade and were visited by a great many local companies, as well as firms from Cyprus, Turkey, Macedonia and neighbouring countries. We were very happy with the level of interest and the promotion we achieved at the fair, especially considering the many people who came specifically to visit our booth, thanks in no small part to the website we launched before the fair itself.
We took a bit of a risk there with the domain name because we first registered the company and only then purchased the domain name, which meant we risked the domain not being available. Fortunately it was.
You registered the domain name on Friday 13th. Isn’t that “unlucky for some”?
Ana Drobnjak: We are a joint Serbian-Italian-owned company – and it’s a 2 to 1 ratio: two Italians and me from Serbia. Why does that matter? Well, in Italy, Friday 17th is considered unlucky. My colleague Silvano Vitiello was in charge of all the marketing and he didn’t realise he was supposed to avoid Friday 13th but it seems the date was auspicious for us after all.
Your main investor and company director is an Italian, so why did you opt for a .RS domain?
Silvano Vitiello: Our efforts are directed towards the Serbian market and towards building positive business relationships with other companies in Serbia. That’s why we chose an .RS domain and created a Serbian-language website. A local market demands a local domain, it’s the option that makes most sense if we are to develop our business in Serbia.
What are the next steps for your young company?
Ana Drobnjak: For now we plan to focus on marketing, which is a must today if we want visibility and recognition in the market as a good partner, ready to meet each and every client’s needs in the best way possible. We want to be a good partner to our clients and suppliers first and foremost, and only then a supplier. We are convinced that this is the only way to do good, healthy business. I can say we already have some partner companies such as the Belgrade company OXO Alati, with whom we have very good cooperation in both directions – both us as client, them as supplier, and vice-versa. I think it’s important to note that all of our products can be found at any given time in their retail outlet, at retail prices.
Silvano Vitiello: We are very happy to say that we are already receiving special requests relating to products and machines which are not yet available here. This is very important for us – a sign that we are on the right track and that we are already being recognised by the market as a company which, though very young, is showing promise in being able to meet market needs for products that are lacking here.